Birch Bark Baskets

Grade(s): 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12

Location: Visual Art Studios at St. Albert Place (Art Gallery of St. Albert)

Program Delivery: In Studio, In School, and Virtual

This art project explores the numerous attributes of birch bark and why Indigenous people used this natural material for constructing watertight baskets. How did the Nēhiyaw (Cree) people first gather berries and roots from the land without containers, bags or boxes? Birch bark baskets of course. Using large darning needles, students learn to sew a traditional basket pattern into a 3D basket using imitation sinew.  



  • Alberta: The Land, Histories & Stories
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit: Indigenous identities, connections, expressions, preservation, protocol, Elder and Knowledge Keeper oral histories and land-based learning
  • Social: Alberta’s geography, history and culture, Canada’s geography


Student Outcomes

  • Create visual art that reflects the history or traditions of Alberta
  • Learn about MEAM (Métis Ecological Arts Message) and why it is so important to respectfully gather natural materials from the land